Shark                      

                                   Gray Reef Sharks


For years, ever since the movie Jaws, sharks have been getting a bad rap. There are whole weeks of TV programming dedicated to them and every time we have a slow news day, these monsters seem to make headlines. We are now being enlightened to discover they have been misunderstood and are fascinating 

creatures. Sharks are actually a vital part of our endangered ecosystem. We share space with them and occasionally cross paths with them, resulting in accidents. It is an interesting fact that for every person who gets bit by a shark one million sharks are killed by man. If we are not careful we will lose an animal that is responsible for keeping our oceans in balance. 

 

One day as when my wife Edrianna was teaching a scuba diving class in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, she had the surprise of her life. She was onboard the Prodiver II with a dozen or more students and other instructors when the captain came over the PA announcing that a whale shark had been spotted. Whale sharks pass through the area but it is rare to see them, especially this close to the coast. The captain received the shark's location from another vessel shot over to the site. It was over fifty feet long, almost the length of the boat. The captain gently maneuvered into position as everyone donned their masks, fins and snorkels. At his signal divers went of all sides of the boat like Lemmings going over a cliff-- All but Edrianna.

I painted this picture, using acrylic paint on canvas, of a whale shark swimming with a diver. Whale sharks are the largest shark in the species, growing to lengths up to 65 feet. They are harmless to man, surviving on plankton.

 

Let me tell you about the ultimate in dedication. Edrianna told me about the encounter and the fact she did not go in the water with the whale shark because she wanted to be with me and share that type of extraordinary experience together. I couldn't believe it; I would have been the first one over the side--pushing the other Lemmings out of the way. Later on when she realized that we would have a better chance of getting struck by lightning in the Sahara Desert while claiming a winning lottery ticket than a second chance at diving with a whale shark, she got a small sense of regret. Did I tell you that I really love this gal?

This watercolor painting was based on a shipwreck called the Mercedes. I added Caribbean reef sharks which are common to Florida waters.

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